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1/23/2006
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U.S. Supreme Court Turns Down BlackBerry Maker

Research In Motion Ltd. filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court claiming the case raises significant national and international issues. RIM questioned whether U.S. patent laws apply to its products since it's based in Canada.

The U.S. Supreme Court has turned down Research In Motion Ltd.'s request to review its patent infringement case with NTP Inc.

The court rejected a petition by RIM to review the reach of U.S. patent law. RIM filed the petition because it believes the case raises significant national and international issues. RIM questions whether U.S. patent laws apply to its products since the company is based in Canada.

The Supreme Court rejection, however, doesn't come as a surprise. "Convincing the Supreme Court to take an appeal happens once in a blue moon," says Louis Ederer, an intellectual-property attorney with Torys LLP, an international business law firm.

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts in October denied RIM's request to stop all lower-court proceedings while it decided whether to hear RIM's appeal. RIM hopes to prevent a U.S. District Court from issuing an injunction that would prevent the company from selling BlackBerry devices and wireless E-mail services in the U.S.

RIM's VP of corporate marketing, Mark Guibert, provided the following statement: "RIM has consistently acknowledged that Supreme Court review is granted in only a small percentage of cases and we were not banking on Supreme Court review. The Patent Office continues its reexaminations with special dispatch, RIM’s legal arguments for the District Court remain strong and our software workaround designs remain a solid contingency."

The District Court is expected to set a hearing date for further proceedings. RIM says that an injunction is inappropriate. In case of an injunction, however, RIM has been preparing software "workarounds," which it intends to launch in order to keep the BlackBerry service operating in the U.S.

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